Passion and energy ignite change

Published 12:01 am Sunday, November 28, 2010

Linda Fondren’s business venture became a passion for change. Vicksburg is better for it.

The local gym owner was honored on Thursday night as one of 10 CNN Heroes, the fourth year the cable news network has given the honors. She appeared on CNN Thanksgiving night and was chosen from 10,000 nominees from more than 100 countries.

An eight-week online voting campaign chose the honorees. Of the 10 finalists, Anuradha Koirala, a Nepalese woman who runs Maiti Nepal, an organization that helps Nepal’s sex trafficking victims, was chosen as the Hero of the Year.

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Fondren’s Top 10 finish is a credit to her unwavering effort and boundless energy.

It all started with an idea for a citywide weight-loss challenge called Shape-Up Vicksburg. The goal was to get the city’s residents to challenge themselves to lose a combined 17,000 pounds. The effort has resulted in a monthly walking club that claims to upward of 400 members. The walking club costs nothing to join and equipment basically consists of a pair of shoes, shorts and a T-shirt — affordable for everyone.

Fondren did not have to write a seven-figure check to initiate change. She used just her passion and energy to better all those who have come in contact with her. We can only hope she continues her efforts.

We join with those who voted for her and the Cable News Network in saluting Linda Fondren.

She saw an opportunity to effect change and she jumped at it.

Vicksburg is lucky to have her.